Live your future by your terms
Live your future by your terms
Costs depend entirely on the particulars of the case. In MOST situations, an estimate of hours can be made based on experience in similar matters; when this is done, a flat fee is common as opposed to billable hours. In other situations where time spent is unknown, a typical hourly agreement is to be expected. The goal is to reflect the time of the attorney while minimizing any escalation of costs to the client - when a Fee Agreement is put together, some parts might be fixed flat fees with a clause for hourly if an unlikely scenario occurs.
For most matters the consultation is free, although if the case proceeds that time is often included in a flat fee estimation (90% of the time the case goes way beyond the estimate, so not too much of a worry). WEA referrals enjoy a 30 minute consult that will not be rolled in. In other matters where the counters of the case are a little less known, a reduced hourly rate might be applied, but then credited should the case proceed.
This all depends on the drive of the client to finish the case AND the circumstances of the attorney. Some clients want to take a lot of time, months, to set meetings and reviews, while others are more keen to finish it quickly. On the attorney side, specific cases might require more immediate attention (such as litigation or something where time is of the essence). Life events also can affect this, such as pandemics or sick kids. If you verbalize when you want documents finished, it can be calendared to meet that goal.
The biggest reason to talk to an attorney is this question. In some cases, NO! If there is an inter vivos trust, if property is all governed by non-probate rules, if there are beneficiaries attached to all assets, or perhaps it is a "small estate", you can often avoid probate. You can even avoid probate when it is actually necessary, depending on the banks and institutions helping you change title.
But generally, if you need to change ownership or title to something and the owner is not survived to sign or otherwise gift it, you need a judge's permission to do so. Probate is not very scary in Washington and can be accomplished fairly quickly depending on creditors.
This is a callback to my first FAQ, when I was 26 with my own "office". I found it typical that clients distrusted such a young attorney, without experience in the real world, and without a first hand understanding of what they were experiencing. As it turns out, I am still relatively young for what I know and do, but I am also very tall. As hinted at in the About section, life experiences have changed a lot of perspective and this adds flavor to my advice to clients.
The current phase allows client interactions if following the appropriate protocols. There are a lot more conversations over the phone or Zoom and no more meetings in my tiny back office. When client reviews are needed, the office has a 10' conference room table where we can sit on opposite ends, with masks, while going over concepts. Execution of documents has included house calls and more than a few open air garages or porches, where we can all stand 10' apart with masks while outside.
I am dedicated to keeping my family (and extended family) as safe as possible, so keeping precautions is important to client work right now. Any client wanting even more remote representation will NOT get an eye roll from this office - we will work it out.